Cardmaking, Die Cutting, EBE by Julie Ebersole, Essentials By Ellen

3 Keys to Reduce Anxiety and Get into the Groove with New Stamps and Dies

Do you ever get super stoked about a new stamp and die set because of all the great designs other card artists have put out with them? Then, when they arrive in your mail box, you have a hard time getting started with them, experience creative block and can’t find your groove with them? Creative Ambassador, Daniel West, has three keys to help you get started with the creative process with new stamps and dies.

Hello there!! Today’s project looks really simple! And if you wanted to just skip the three keys in the TIPS section and copy this project, you can absolutely do it. I’ll even give you the step-by-step instructions. But you may miss out on the fun part of just getting to know your new stamps and dies well and the benefits of having extras on hand for multiples of your project.


  1. “Waste” a few sheets of paper by stamping the images in the sets with an acrylic block.
    When you open your new stamps and dies, commit to sitting with them for a few hours to get to know them. They want to make great projects with you, but don’t just willy nilly but them on a card project. Find out how they take ink, how they lay out on paper and what they look like in different colors. Take a few sheets of paper and just spend time stamping out the images in different angles and positions. This won’t be pretty, but it should be fun!!! Sometimes, stamps become much more to your eyes when you’ve had a chance to get to know them.
  2. Stamp and die cut lots of the goodies you have in mind to use.
    Decide on your favorite parts of the sets and the colors you’d like to use. Then, stamp and die cut them out several times. This gives you room for accidents and making multiples. When you want a quick-turn card later, you’ll thank me for this one! I like to store my extra images that I die cut in the back of my storage pouches. Ellen Hutson makes this super easy with the fantastic packaging she provides with all her products.
  3. Sketch out a few designs on paper before you commit to trying one of them.
    Finally, before committing the images and die cuts to paper, you may find it handy to just draw a little layout with a pencil on some copy paper. This will help you remember what you had in mind. Then, of course, you can start placing your die cuts and images on a card front according to your sketch and determine whether or not the images work with the size of your design and card front.

This is a picture of my workspace on-the-go! I am writing this post in a hotel room at a conference and wanted to share it with you! The desk in my room has a granite top, so I figured it made the perfect craft space. I also brought along with me a bunch of highly portable Essentials By Ellen products, inks, blocks and Copic markers!!

To create my featured project today, I decided to sketch out a simple CAS card (my absolute favorite way to create). I stamped the large squiggly image from Abstract Nature stamp set out with Oh Boy! Ink on the front of an A2-sized card. Then, I stamped the little empty dots image with Midnight Ink and filled some of them in with a gold gel pen.

Next, I took one of my stamped and die cut bears from the Bear Ware Grand Tour out and popped it up on the front with some foam tape.

After that, I dipped a five and a zero from the Class Block Numbers & Symbols die set directly into the Oh Boy! ink pad to match my background blob. Next, I tucked them into the arms of the bear and pressed them into the foam tape underneath him.

I finished off the project by stamping a small sentiment from the Bear Ware Dress Sentiments stamp set, “You’re so fly”, on the front with some Versafine Black Onyx Ink

Thank you for spending some time with me on the blog today! I hope you will add these tips to your arsenal of knowledge to help you get started on your projects with less anxiety and more assurance!

A grid of supplies is available for you below for your convenience. I hope you have a wonderful day!



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1 Comment

  • Reply Christine - Dances With Hooves Paper Design March 10, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    Another fantastic, hugely helpful post, Daniel! I SO appreciate it – and you “get me” so well… because I look with fear on things I am SO excited to bring home as soon as I take them out to make a card! I really appreciate the help!

    Blessings to you,

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